Certified Fitness Trainer
Certified Fitness Nutrition Specialist
Since the specific cause of hypertension is generally unknown in almost 90% of cases, the measures recommended to prevent high blood pressure cover a broad spectrum. Considerable research suggests that the following steps can be effective in both preventing and treating high blood pressure:
- Maintain an appropriate body weight. Obese individuals are more than twice as likely to have high blood pressure than others. If body fat is too high, even a small decrease in fat level can significantly lower blood pressure.
- Limit alcohol intake to no more than two drinks a day. The bad news: Too much alcohol raises blood pressure. The good news: Its effects are completely reversible.
- Do not smoke. Nicotine has been shown to constrict small blood vessels and raise blood pressure. In addition, smoking increases the risk of heart attack in other ways.
- Moderate the amount of salt in the diet. Although diverse opinions exist regarding the relationship between high blood pressure and salt intake, salt does appear to increase blood pressure levels is sodium-sensitive individuals. (About half of hypertension sufferers are sodium-sensitive.)
- Consume adequate amounts of calcium, magnesium and potassium. A few studies suggest that these minerals can have a positive impact on blood pressure.
- Exercise on a regular basis. Exercise has been found to have several interrelated benefits with regard to blood pressure, including maintenance of a desirable body weight, reduction of the risk of heart disease and strengthening the cardiovascular system.